Personal life is keeping me quite busy at the moment and other projects are smiling at me but there has nothing changed towards getting this to a finished point eventually.
I have assembled the old case parts with the now working display just to give things a test while the mainboard is actually sitting inside the case together with the display. Right now it is of course USB powered as I have not tackled the Battery Management System (BMS) yet.
Though the BMS is quite far up on the todo list and I got some great partners from the community that are helping me with this complicated part of the tablet.
But lets look at some pretty pictures first before I go into more details on the next steps. Please keep in mind that these are the same super rushed prototype case parts with all their blemishes and mistakes from my Hackaday Prize submission 1 year ago. It flew half way around the world and back :)
The screen really is quite beautiful with its 2560x1600 10".
While assembling the pieces I quickly noticed some things that I want to change. Its fascinating how quickly these things come to you when you had some distance to a project for a while.
First thing is the plastic bezel in which the screen is glued into. I will merge this with the aluminium plate and make it one milled piece. There is little reason to not have these two things as one. Both are fully dependant on the display being used and can't be further modularized.
This should give a better rigidity of the display assembly too and it also allows for the actual mounting plate part to be thinner, shaving of another 1-2mm of the total thickness which is quite substantial.
Thickness in general is still a point I want to improve on. On one part it is very much dependant on which connectors I want to support, on the other it depends on how thin I can get stuff without making things unstable.
If I were to not make it modular I could easily get it down to ~10mm but I'm not making "iPad but Linux" here. This is not the project for that and it will never be.
I want to push what we can do in the mobile world with a modular concept without going crazy like Google did with their Project Ara approach.
Making something that can also serve as a robust base for a plethora of other products is a goal here, so keeping things modular is still the number one reason to do this project.
Next up would be a rework of all the case parts. The current prototype served its purpose of testing my assumption and developing the concept further.
Next up is also the BMS as mentioned earlier, this is a very crucial part and comes with its own problems. Once that works it is pretty close to the bare minimum of what you could call a tablet.
With the mainboard, screen, case and BMS the most complicated pieces are solved. Things like sound, buttons, WiFi etc. all have their complexities but aren't things very specific to this project and is something I can ask for help more easily as this is something people can work on with just a Jetson Nano devkit. These parts will also need a whole lot more software work to get them working right. A lot more Linux Device Tree work ahead on that front.
It might be a while again until I can do another sprint but it is most certainly coming :)